LFC WomenMatt Beard column: Tottenham win, brilliant Stengel and skipper Hinds
In his latest column, Liverpool FC Women manager Matt Beard reflects on the important win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Women's Super League and tells us why striker Katie Stengel is getting back to her best.
It goes without saying we were absolutely delighted to get the three points against Tottenham on Sunday and I felt it was well deserved.
I thought the performance, especially the first half, was excellent. We could have scored a lot more goals, to be honest with you.
We had a great chance with Ceri Holland and then Katie Stengel and Yana Daniels. We had a goal disallowed which should have stood, so on another day we could have been comfortable at half-time.
We played with high intensity and caused Tottenham a lot of problems and I was really pleased with that.
In the second half, I think because of what was at stake on the day and being in front, maybe we could have managed that a little bit better. But I said to the girls after the game that the most important thing is the three points, which we got.
We showed great character. Lawsy [Rachael Laws] was excellent, as was Robey [Leighanne Robe], Gemma [Bonner] and Meg [Megan Campbell]. They were excellent as a back three.
Robey made a brilliant block in stoppage time to deny Tottenham and I was really pleased with her.
When we’ve had these injury problems it has given other people opportunities. Me and Robey sit down every other week and she has been nothing but professional.
Her last two performances have been excellent. I said to her after the Arsenal game how proud of her I was. She is a fantastic person and has performed really well these past two games.
Ceri and Katie’s performances were standout for me if I’m being honest, they were superb. I think our club tweet about Ceri’s display was brilliant but also right.
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I was delighted for Emma Koivisto to get her first goal for the club and also an assist. For our first goal, I think we were due that little bit of luck at some point.
Emma was fantastic, especially when you consider she has been ill, and I’m really pleased with her. She is a warrior.
Going to a three in midfield has enabled Missy Bo Kearns to get higher up the pitch and I’ve always said she is capable of getting goals for us.
We’ve had a little bit of teething problems adjusting to the three in midfield but we are getting there.
Ceri’s pace and power gives us an added dimension, Missy Bo also loves to get forward and alongside them Fuka Nagano is just a wonderful football player, so I think we’ve got good balance in there at the moment.
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Our supporters were fantastic once again - but they always are and that is not a surprise. I’m glad we could give them a performance and three points to go home with happy faces.
It’s put us in a good position in the WSL ahead of our next game, which is the Merseyside derby, and then after that we have got a good run of games where we feel we can climb the table.
I have to mention Katie’s performance because I thought she was outstanding leading the line.
During our recent break we allowed Katie to go home back to the USA to see her family and she has come back refreshed. Me and Katie had a good chat when she came back, just to get back to basics and get her to be herself again.
Psychologically whether I’m right or wrong here I don’t know, we do have conversations together, but when you do lose a lot of players in one position like ourselves with the forwards, maybe that puts you under that bit more pressure.
Katie and Yana Daniels are the only two players we’ve got fit and available out of seven forwards, but Katie was outstanding.
I made a point of going up to her at half-time just to tell her that and we said it in the dressing room as well, and she caused Amy Turner all sorts of problems.
In the absence of Niamh Fahey I have handed Taylor Hinds the captain’s armband and she deserves it.
First and foremost she is a great professional. She is very consistent - especially in training week in, week out - and she has got a good personality.
When I was at Liverpool in my first spell as the manager I had leaders like Fara Williams, Natasha Dowie and Whitney Engen, but I saw something then in Gemma Bonner in terms of leadership from when I worked with her at Chelsea.
I see similar qualities in Taylor to what Gemma has. It’s not always about shouting and screaming, it’s about doing your best and being the best day in, day out.
I think Taylor definitely has leadership qualities and hopefully giving her the armband will help her develop as a player, give her more confidence both as a player and as a person, because we see her as one of our leaders.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
Matt Beard was speaking to Liverpoolfc.com's Steve Hunter